Monday, 18 January 2016

3 of the Most Amazing Buildings in the World

The Krzywy Domek - Polish for "crooked little house"
1. Krzywy Domek

This odd-shaped building is located in Sopot, Poland. It was designed by a group of architects who were inspired by the work of a Polish illustrator. The building is part of a shopping center and was built in 2004. It has since become the most photographed building in the whole country.







2. Antilia
A view of Antilia's majestic appearance

Antilia is a 27-storey private housing in Mumbai, India. It is owned by the 39th richest man in the world according to Forbes, and is estimated to cost more than $1 billion. The house is complete with facilities such as three helipads, six floors of parking and a series of floating gardens. However, the most bizarre thing is that the owner decided not to move into the house as it had bad vastu shastra which was essentially the Hindu version of feng shui.











3. Capital Gate

Capital Gate, also known as the Leaning Tower of Abu Dhabi
This skyscraper is located in Abu Dhabi, UAE. It stands at 160m tall and stands out among the other buildings around it. However, it is known for its striking lean of 18ยบ, which is about 4.5 times that of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. In June 2010, the building broke the world record for the furthest leaning man-made tower. This feat was accomplished with the help of a pre-cambered core which uses a core of concrete reinforced with steel and is deliberately built slightly off-centre. The core is also anchored to the ground by 490 piles drilled deep into the ground.
























Saturday, 13 June 2015

Study Less, Study Smart

Here are the main points that I have summarized from the lecture by Marty Lobdell:

1. Have short breaks in between about every 30 mins of serious studying by doing something relaxing (e.g. listening to music) so that you will be refreshed and be more effective at studying.
2. Have your own studying area so that you have a comfortable environment to do actual studying and develop a focused attitude to studying.
3. Make sure you fully understand the concepts of the topic you are learning about, and not just memorize all the facts and important points. Understanding something and knowing something are two very different meanings. One way to do this is to always take notes in class. 4. Study groups can motivate you to study better and more effectively because it is much less mundane and stressful to study with your friends and help to clarify any doubts you have with them.
5. Make use of your textbooks well. Don't highlight almost everything that you come across, because you aren't highlighting anything if you highlight everything. Use the SQ3R Method (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review) to remember important points in the textbook.
6. Make use of mnemonics to remember facts effectively (acronyms, coined sayings, interacting images) as these can help you keep the information in your head more easily compared to repetitive studying.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Big Hero 6

I went to watch Big Hero 6 on Monday with a friend, and I liked it quite a lot. This movie is about a boy named Hero who had a brilliant mind. His brother, Tadashi, studied in a university where young inventors innovate and create amazing things using futuristic technology. Of one of those inventions were Tadashi's project - a living personal healthcare assistant called Baymax. Tadashi died in a tragic fire soon after, and Hero tracked down the man who started the fire and stole the technology he invented with the help of Baymax and Tadashi's close friends. I think this movie is heartwarming and teaches us to treasure our close friends as Baymax sacrificed himself to save Hero at the end. We should also hold our family close to our heart, because Hero didn't realise how much he loved his brother until he was gone forever.

The Difference between Learning & Being Taught

There are many things that separate getting taught and learning, although you might think they are exactly the same meaning but phrased differently.

The first difference is that while you are being taught, you are listening to someone explaining or telling you something new or something you don't know fully about, for example, a teacher. However, when you are learning something, it is not necessarily listening to someone teaching, but it might be something you read from a book or maybe from the internet, therefore you say "I learnt something from a YouTube video today" and not "I got taught by a YouTube video today".

Secondly, when you are taught by someone, you might not be absorbing or understanding the details  that the person is conveying to you. This means that you might just be thinking of something else and not putting in your concentration and focus on processing the information that is passed on to you in your head. Learning something is almost the exact opposite. Learning means that you actually understand the details that you hear or see from the person, hence the expression "learning something new", whereby you know the procedure and understand the processes taking place within the information.

So, the next time you have to learn something for school or some other purpose, try to find the answers and information yourself first. There are many ways you can do this, from going to a library to searching for it on Google. Instead of always relying on someone to teach you about something, at least read up on the topic a little beforehand so that you have a better understanding of what the teacher, for example, is saying and also to cultivate some initiative in yourself.

Monday, 10 November 2014

The Time Keeper By Mitch Albom

After reading this book I felt that time is something immeasurable and that we should always treasure it. Some people want more time and others want to reverse time. The story is about a man named Dor who was punished for trying to control time and was sent to Earth after being banished in a cave for thousands of years with a mission to save two different people - a girl who wants to kill herself after being rejected by the boy she loved and a rich old man diagnosed with cancer and is desperate to live longer. In the end, they were brought together by Dor, now known as Father Time and time stopped completely. Father Time had saved them with a power not known by man. When the two woke up, it was as if nothing ever happened and they let it pass as a dream. Father Time then found himself in the era where he existed as a man and everything was back to normal. His mission has been completed. It is a really deep book that makes it's readers think twice about their own notions of time and how precious it really is.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

OEE 2014 Reflections

To tell you the truth, I wasn't really looking forward to OEE at first. I mean, trekking 10 km through uneven forest ground, then not getting to bathe at night? That is just nasty D:

But oh well, on the morning of the expedition we were dropped off at Macritchie to compete in an Amazing Race to see which house would go off first. To keep a long story short, we struggled finding something at the last part and ended up going off last. But when we went off, we weren't last. Blue house was fourth but they went towards the wrong direction. I guess that hyped everybody up a little so they weren't complaining too much. We trekked through the Macritchie forest with a mission to reach our destination - the Diary Farm Adventure Camp - first.

We stopped to eat our packed lunches at the Ranger Station, where we met with the other houses. We ate, refilled our bottles and set off. Still, Blue House was nowhere to be seen. After having our lunch we had more energy and caught up with Yellow House who were third. We trekked with them for a while before we reached our next checkpoint which was a tall steel tower which we had to climb and take a selfie at the top. After we were done we just picked up our bags, picked up our pace and walked on with determination.

After the tower we stopped several times for water breaks and decided to gain bonus points by going another route to the reservoir. We managed to get the extra points but we weren't sure if Blue House had already overtaken us. We just kept on walking along the roadside until we saw the other houses on a clearing. Luckily we saw them if not we would be lost along the way. We completed the checkpoint and moved on until there was a trail. We trekked from there for about a half hour when we stopped for our next checkpoint to test us on what we were to do if casualties occur. It was a bonus checkpoint but we still did it even after the other houses overtook us.

Eventually after a bit of confusion over which way to go, we managed to use our logic to figure out which was the only path that could be right. We arrived at around 5:30 pm and the other houses except for Blue were getting ready to cook. We immediately took out our cooking ingredients and mass tins and started cooking too. Our group cooked Carbonara Spaghetti with Ham and I found it delicious. Several people joled that Blue House was still at Ranger Station eating their lunch. We ate our food and washed the dishes and utensils and just went around talking to friends from other houses, waiting for the last house to arrive. When we heard a shout of delight, we knew - Blue House has arrived. We all cheered and they took out their utensils and started cooking.

We didn't get to bathe, like I said, so I was reluctant to even sleep with my sticky body. Thank goodness I brought me deodorant, and started spraying it on myself and I even went to the toilet to get some tap water to wet myself a bit. I felt slightly more refreshed and sat around talking to my friends while people went around spraying deodorant and powder onto others. The teachers asked us
to gather to watch Black House perform as punishment for losing their mass tins.

We finally set up our tents at around 10:30 and went to rest. It was particularly cramped in my tent as there were five people in it while others had three or four. After deciding I couldn't sleep, I went outside my friend's tent to talk to her. I only went to sleep around midnight. At 2:30 am, a siren rang and we had to change into our running shoes and gather in our houses in front of Mr Lam, the head teacher-in-charge for the expedition. We were to trek through a small forest using guiding glowsticks hung up by teachers to some place where we all had to gather again. The teacher asked me and my friend to go call the next house to come as we were the last men. When we went back to the start of the forest, our friend, Raveen was waiting for us. So while other houses travelled in the creepy forest together, the three of us only had each other, and none of us wanted to be left behind nor be the first. We just hugged each other's arms and followed the light.

We managed to reach a large clearing in the middle of the forest which I found very quiet and peaceful, because who would have thought that a small country like Singapore would have a clearing like this? After all the houses have reached, we had to find three mass tins that were snatched by the teachers from random tents. We found only two but some smart alec said we found all of them already, but after a while we were called back to find the last mass tin.

We only got back to our tents because the teachers made us find all three of them all over again so when I got back I didn't feel like sleeping. I just got ready and poured more water down my shirt and packed my bag. I then sat outside with a friend and soon more people joined us, offering snacks and talking with us. In the morning we got to eat a few tasty treats that the teachers had leftover and offered them to us.

We then started the trek back to school. We just followed the other houses and after a while when we were walking along Bukit Timah Road it rained heavily. We stopped to put on our ponchos and then I found myself talking to my friend at the back. She was fast and I had to catch up to her. The teachers had told us if we didn't finish the trek back to school in an hour we would have to attempt it again. We all hurriedly walked along the pavement and in half an hour we walked from Ngee Ann Poly to the zebra crossing near the path back to school. We reached and went to change our wet and dirty shoes to slippers, which the teachers actually allowed. The prizes were given to the respective houses and we got fourth.

I have learnt many things about this expedition but the one thing that I think is truly important is that we should always be kind to one another and that we can always overcome difficulties if one is willing to help the ones falling behind. An example is when I had not enough water, a boy named Jeron that I wasn't very close to let me drink some of his water and I returned the favor to him on the way back to school. I actually enjoyed the expedition and I sincerely hope that I can do it again some other time.

By,
Xavier


Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Book Review - The First Phone Call From Heaven

I think that this book is very impactful as the author of the book makes it very real even though it is a fiction. To summarize the story, people of a small town called Coldwater are receiving calls from the deceased whom they know. The story had so many people believe in it that there was a live telecast on a phone call being received by one of the people who keep getting calls. A man called Sully is determined to reveal the secret behind this whole scheme and in the end it was a man who wanted peace and was using the words recorded from the deceased people's voicemails to form sentences to converse with the living. There are always parts where the book makes you wonder about the topic about life after death, and how much you believe in God.